The New and Hip Jewish London

With 80% of the world Jewish population living in either Israel or the U.S., we sometimes forget our community not only exists, but thrives, in places other than Jerusalem, L.A. and N.Y.C. One distant outpost is London. Here, just a few short weeks before 2008 begins, I encountered both new and exciting initiatives (by and for a new generation of U.K. Jewry) taking root. Here is just one.

On a quiet tree lined street in Willesden Green, almost at the end of the Jubilee Line, sits an unassuming brick home. From the outside, it blends with all the others on the street. Yet inside, on the 2nd night of Chanukah, I was welcomed to a space overflowing with energy, friendship, many Chanukiot and lots and lots of 20something smiling Jewish souls. Welcome to Moishe House, London style.

With principle funding through the California based Forest Foundation, a small cohort of Londoners joined together two months ago to live together and create their own vision of community. “Based on values of hospitality, creativity, openness and learning from each other” they are providing new, exciting and non-denominational activities for the London Jewish community. “From Friday night dinners to film showings, impromptu concerts to study sessions, jam sessions to social action events.”

Moishe House, a two year old endeavor, has already opened 19 such ‘houses’ in 8 countries with more on the way. The Forest Foundation provides up to a 75% rent subsidy in addition to a monthly programming budget. The individual residents create their own identity and calendar.

If you are a traveler, be sure to check their many locations and events for a refreshing new experience. And, if Moishe House is already in your community, what are you waiting for?

First in a series focusing on new Jewish innovation in the U.K.